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11 July 2009 @ 11:13 pm
For some reason, I've recently been in an adventurous mood. I suppose I figure that I'm not allowed to get bored in New York City like I did in New Jersey. Last night, I thought it might be a good idea to get on line for tickets to Twelfth Night. People have been lining up absurdly early to get tickets, which get handed out at 1 pm. I thought that getting over to Central Park by 4 am would work, so I woke up at 2:30 am and checked the message board at to see what kind of a line was there already, and I found out that as of 1:30 am, the line was already stretched out for 4 or 5 blocks. So I said "Fuck that shit!" and went back to bed. Apparently I'm not crazy enough. Lining up 12 hours ahead of time is a whole new level of crazy that I'm not even willing to visit, so the only way I'll get to see Twelfth Night is if by some miracle I win the online ticket lottery.

Thinking about this whole situation of ticket-getting craziness made me think about a question my dad asked me a few years back: "Is it better to be lucky or good?" In this case, it depends on how you look at it. On one hand, better to be lucky--ain't no way I'm dedicated enough to camp out. On the other, better to be good (or at least dedicated)--ain't no way I'm winning the online lottery. But the question was asked in the context of sports, so I had a different answer:
blackdogbookshop: Question? Old sports axiom says that it's better to be lucky than good. Is it better to be lucky or good?
That's only true because everyone at the professional sports level is good. When everyone is at an advanced level, skill becomes much less of a predictive factor for outcome, and issues of strategy, determination, and, yes, luck come into play. Luck without skill won't do anything for you. I say be good first so you can get in the game, and then worry whether you're lucky or not.

And this got me thinking: I should do another round of blog questions. I used to do this from time to time when I had xanga (and more readers), but what the heck. Readers! Ask me any question you want and I'll answer it in one of my upcoming entries. And Ed, if you ask me a question, go easy on me because you know I ain't that deep.

06 July 2009 @ 09:40 pm
Here's how I feel about today: At around 11 a.m. I discovered that I put my underwear on backwards. Okay, so backwards underwear isn't a feeling, but it has to be some kind of metaphor, right?

Today was my first day back to work after a vacation (which followed on the heels of my aunt's wake). Going back to work after a vacation feels funny, like when you were a kid and spent all summer running around barefoot and in September suddenly had to go back to wearing socks and sneakers. Something about it just ain't right. And as my welcome back to the world of nine to five, the L train decided to do something ridiculous this morning. It went slowly for a while, which I was willing to handwave away because it's the MTA and shit happens, but then they told everyone on the train to get off at Bedford Ave and sent the L train backwards. Backwards! Bedford Ave gets ridiculously packed (mostly with hipsters) in the morning as it is, and when I got off, it was almost too crowded for everyone on the train to get on the platform. The crowding, combined with the humidity, made me feel like I was going to pass out, and I couldn't even go anywhere to sit down. I had to crouch at the edge of the platform and bend my head towards my knees, and then I had to let the next train pass me by because it was too crowded. For the first time, I got off at First Avenue because I couldn't stand being underground anymore, and I took the M15 limited uptown to work. One of my coworkers recommended that route to me, but up until now, I've been too intimidated to try it out because I never ride the buses. I guess I'm not that adventurous if I need to almost faint before I'm willing to try something new!

So I got to work 40 minutes late. I called my boss while I was waiting for the bus, and she was nice about it. And after I got over feeling sick, today was a fairly normal day at work--or at least, it's what I imagine normal would feel like. I was busy most of the time and probably only goofed off about 15% of the time. The downside to being nearly caught up on work is that I have to wonder what in the world I'll do for the rest of the week.

But this is not what I came here to tell you! This blog is not titled "Misadventures on the L Train!" So I should probably tell you what else I've been up to since my last blog entry.

My mom and I went to Miami. Beaches were visited, mojitos were drunk. (Perhaps I should say "Mojitos were drunk, and so was I," but that would be misleading because 1) I was only drunk once, and not disgustingly so, and 2) it was not the result of a mojito but the result of a vodka and cranberry juice that I got for free for singing karaoke in a bar.) My mom didn't complain about my dad too much, and I didn't get sunburned, so all in all, I can't complain. It was a little difficult for me to fully enjoy the vacation just because I'm so used to being by myself now that I start to crave alone time if I'm with another person for too many consecutive hours. But the beach was good when it wasn't raining. I got freckles on my nose. I bought a mini-dress for no other reason than that I looked cute in it. The plane ride wasn't too annoying because I was absorbed in Kafka on the Shore. I took pictures of excellent signs in a Walgreens near our hotel.

Wait, what?Collapse )

So even with my introverted temperament to contend with, it was a pretty good trip. And when I got back home, I got to spend a few days with my boyfriend, who is probably the sweetest and most patient person I know. He comes back to New Jersey with me to go to a 4th of July barbecue, where he meets my parents and listen to my dad wax philosophical after a few beers. He takes the bus back to New York with me afterward so we can snuggle (and more) without awkward parental encounters and is perfectly calm when we get stuck in major traffic. He lets me take pictures of him in restaurants even though he would never be so uncool as to whip out a camera like a tourist.

I am not a tourist!Collapse )

He helps me make fudge puddles.

Mmm, patriotic dessertCollapse )

And after I leave for work on his last morning in New York, and he's left alone in my apartment, he makes my bed and puts two packets of tea on my pillow as if my apartment is a hotel and he's my maid. I should have taken a photo of that, but I didn't! It was such a nice thing to come home to. It's only too bad I don't have anyone to make tea for when he's gone...

Penultimate thought: Now that I have so many leftover blueberries, I was pondering waking up at 6:30 a.m to make myself blueberry pancakes before work. I'm thinking that's a little too ambitious, though, and I'll end up making blueberry pancakes for dinner instead.

Final thought: I could probably eat breakfast for every meal for the rest of my life and not mind it.

26 June 2009 @ 10:40 pm
Sometimes, I come up with brilliant ideas, tell someone (usually Ed) online, and then promptly forget about them. I think from time to time, I should pick a random point in my AIM logs and read up to the first brilliant idea I come across, and then post about it here. What do you think, readers? Is this something you might want to read? As an example, here's a life plan I forgot I had:

airy nothing (9:44:51 PM): Hanna and I are planning our lives around each other so that when we're both famous, we end up on each other's wikipedia pages
airy nothing (9:45:07 PM): so we decided that I'm going to get a terrible disease, and she's going to discover the cure
airy nothing (9:45:34 PM): and then I'll win a big literary prize for a work written about my time of illness
airy nothing (9:45:36 PM): and dedicate it to her
My dad's sister died yesterday of cancer. My mother woke me with a phone call to let me know. I cried for a few minutes, then got up to get ready for work.

I haven't cried since then, but I've committed several blunders. This morning, I meant to put on real people shoes but wandered out of my apartment with Old Navy sandals. (I think some hipsters judged me on the L train.) Later, I carelessly bit into a particularly juicy strawberry and stained my skirt.

Both today and yesterday, I went out after work and walked around for several hours. I told myself I was shopping for something to wear to the funeral, as if I need any more black. (I don't. I own enough black clothing to keep a goth army uniformed for weeks.) I didn't buy anything. I think I've just been walking around so that when I come home, I'm too tired to be existential.

When I talked to my dad on the phone, I asked him how he was doing, and he said, "It's times like this that make you wonder what it all means." My dad likes to be existential at every available opportunity, but in this situation, it makes sense. My aunt was only a few years older than he is.

I think that as much as I mourn my aunt's death, I also wonder how I would cope with my parents' deaths. I still rely on them for so much. Even at twenty-three, I am their child.

But even with these thoughts in my head, I am surprised at how untroubled I am. Maybe it's because I'm living in another state, or maybe it's because that state is New York. There's a numbing effect that comes with living in the city, I think. In order to maintain your sanity, you have to shut out the palaver in the streets and care less about other people.

When was the last time I felt strongly about anything? It's hard to say. Sometimes I'm surprised at what moves me.

I finished The Master and Margarita today. I almost didn't finish it. I've put it aside so many times; it could easily have been the latest in the series of small failures that comprise my life. But I did finish it, and at one point, I was oddly moved by one of the footnotes, about Mikhail Bulgakov and Romanticism:

Bulgakov felt he was reading about himself in an article he found on [E.T.A.] Hoffmann, which included the following ideas: a real artist is doomed to solitude; art is powerless in the face of a reality which is destructive to art; the artist is not of the ordinary world; clarity and peace are needed to creation. In this same article on Hoffmann Bulgakov underlined a passage to the effect that the man of genius is caught between two possibilities: if he concedes to reality he will become a philistine, but if he doesn't, he will die before his time or go mad.

The words are nothing special, but the ideas behind them get me--especially the part about the artist being doomed to solitude. I was surprised that I identified with it personally, though, especially since throughout the novel I had been identifying more with Margarita than the Master. The Master is writing a novel when he's arrested and put in a psychiatric hospital. Margarita loves the Master--and his writing--so much that she is willing to make a deal with the devil to have him brought back to her. (It sounds rather dramatic when I put it like that, but in reality the novel isn't particularly thrilling, which, I think, is why I had such difficulty finishing it. I found the images and situations it presents compelling, though, and I could see myself going back to reread parts of it.)

I have to think more before I declare anything. I used to think it was clear that I was an artist, but now I'm not so sure. And now I have a talented boyfriend, whom I adore, and I could see myself playing more of a supporting role in the creative process. I could see myself conceding to reality and becoming a philistine. I think, to an extent, that's what I'm doing already, although not without a sense of irony. But irony is for hipsters.

I've been trying to figure out where this entry is going for a couple of hours now. I feel like I should make a point at the end. But I feel like "irony is for hipsters" is as good a point as any.

airy nothing (11:36:27 PM): I need to go to bed
airy nothing (11:36:30 PM): I feel miserable
comma (11:37:01 PM): well i hope you feel all right in the morning.
airy nothing (11:37:19 PM): I'm going to get rained on and I left my umbrella at work
airy nothing (11:37:21 PM): it'll be great
comma (11:37:50 PM): aw.
airy nothing (11:38:18 PM): and we have someone important coming into the office tomorrow
airy nothing (11:38:33 PM): I had to hide some of my boxes of stuff in a closet because it was unsightly
airy nothing (11:38:41 PM): I mean, god forbid it look like we actually work there
airy nothing (11:38:43 PM): ugh
comma (11:39:01 PM): so now your hair might look unsightly?
airy nothing (11:39:04 PM): right
airy nothing (11:39:08 PM): and my face
airy nothing (11:39:10 PM): and my outfit
airy nothing (11:39:12 PM): it'll be great
airy nothing (11:39:17 PM): they'll have to put me in a closet, too
17 June 2009 @ 11:08 pm
Do you remember the night
we came home to find
your room full of moths?

It was hot, and we had let
the windows swing wide open.

I balanced on a chair, shoe in hand,
as you hid just outside the door.

You would not sleep with
their wings opening and closing
like camera shutters around you.
At night, the soaring gulls descend to rest,
and settling at last
upon the surface of the ageless sea,
which, though it shifts as airy clouds do, proves
as welcoming a home as any nest,
allow themselves to be
from flight and movement thus removed.

Their wings are folded gently to their sides,
but with their restless eyes
they scavenge the horizon for some mark
by which to orient themselves: some line
that separates the ocean from the sky,
They cannot, in the dark,
devise a method to divide

the two, and therefore do the birds suspect
the razor that bisects
the world is nothing but a mirror-trick,
and objects can be reshaped with a question.
They ask: do all the stars reflect
in some celestial lake
the grains of salt within the ocean?

And asking makes all such reversals seem
achievable; supreme,
the minds that think them so. Whereas before
they were no great philosophers, tonight
the birds are feathered alchemists who dream
of oceans that transform
into the winds that give them flight.

Magnificent the eye that sees such things,
the mirror-trick that flings
the image of the gulls on all it finds:
the tides that rise and fall, never anchored;
the ships, like egrets with their great white wings;
the hovering night sky,
transformed into a starry bird.
10 June 2009 @ 10:39 pm
In New York,
there is always someone
ready to replace you.

Whether you are on
the crowded 6 train
or the corner of
Lexington & 42nd,

waiting for the light
to change, someone else
is waiting a step away,

ready to step into
the small space
your body has
momentarily claimed.

There is no reason
why you are
where you are
instead of someone else.

So in the morning,
when you walk into an office
where you type letters
into a machine all day,

you can say nothing
except, "Someone has
to sit at my desk.
It might as well be me."
City, how have I come to live with you?
You left your home, as countless others do.
I’ve met with nothing to embrace me here.
Stone and glass are no gentle lovers, dear.
It’s traffic and not birdsong in the morning.
I never promised that I would be charming.
In certain lights, I think you almost ugly.
When you are old, do you think you’ll be pretty?
Impossible—but can I learn to love you?
With a map and patience, as the others do.
04 June 2009 @ 12:33 pm
You say: we will endure this separation
by writing and exchanging letters often.
I say: I will go to the ocean's edge
and meet you when I build the longest bridge.